A/N This plot bunny came to me yesterday inspired by one of Healer Pomfrey's challenges where someone who isn't Snape has to find out how Harry is treated at the Dursleys' and do something about it.
I do not own Harry Potter or any of the associated characters. I also do not claim that any of the bureaucracy or legislation mentioned in this story is true or even exists. I have not researched it and this is just a story. Now I've said that - on with the show! Reviews are greatly appreciated.
Six year old Harry Potter was sitting in a white waiting room, nervously waiting for his name to be called. Dudley had already been in and came out looking very shaken. Petunia had immediately offered that they go home via the big ice cream, shop which had made Dudley stop his near tantrum. They had left Harry on his own with the command to be back before dark. As if a six year old knew how to get back from Greater Whinging.
Eventually a nurse came in and called "Harry Potter?" Harry stood up and shakily walked to the door.
"Hello little one" she said. "Do you want your parents to come with you?"
"I would love that but they died when I was one. My aunt and uncle have just left with Dudley. It's just me" Harry replied softly.
"Oh dear." The nurse pulled Harry into a hug, his first he could remember. "Where do you live? We could get someone to help you home after your exam if you want?"
"Yes please. Number four, Privet Drive."
"That's in Little Whinging isn't it?"
"My name's Lucy, Harry. I've just got to make a few calls, I'll be back shortly."
"No, please! Don't go! I want you to stay!" Harry ducked his head expecting at the very least harsh words. He was not allowed to want anything. He did as he was told and was grateful for it.
"Harry?" The nurse lifted Harry's chin and looked into his eyes. "I just need to inform Steven why we have not got to him yet. Do you want to come with me?"
Harry nodded. Lucy took his hand and they walked through to the office.
"Steven? Lucy here. I have your next patient but he's a bit scared and got no-one with him. I need to make some calls but he wants me to stay with him. ... Right. Thankyou very much. See you shortly."
"Steven's coming down to see you" Lucy said encouragingly. "I'm sure you'll like him."
When the dentist arrived he spoke softly and calmly to Harry which did manage to lessen the nervousness. He didn't want to make these people go even more out of their way for him so he agreed to be led upstairs by Steven.
When he saw the big chair and the multiple sharp tools however, the shaking returned with full force. Steven quickly cleared all of his instruments into a drawer and the two sat down on the edge of the big chair.
"Shhhhh Harry, it's alright. What I'm going to do is just look at your teeth. You see this mirror?"
"Well, you lie back on this chair and I put this inside your mouth. It allows me to see what your teeth look like and if you've been taking care of them or not."
"Taking care of them?"
"Brushing them properly and eating the right kind of foods, that sort of thing."
"Oh. Will it hurt?"
"It shouldn't do. If it does, just raise your hand and I'll stop."
Harry took a deep breath. "Okay."
Harry lay back on the huge chair and closed his eyes. He felt something be placed around him and he jerked violently .
"This is just so that nothing falls onto your lovely t-shirt Harry. It's like a bib. Everyone wears them."
"Oh sorry" Harry muttered, still remaining tense.
"Not a problem Harry. Can you open your mouth for me?"
Harry did so, slowly. It felt uncomfortable, but not painful. When he felt the pressure removed from his mouth, he swallowed and licked his lips without realising. For a few seconds all that could be heard was Steven scribbling on a notepad and Harry's erratic breathing.
"Harry?" Harry opened his eyes to find Steven practically standing over him. "Do you see this?" Steven held up a short metal rod with a piece of wire sticking out of it. "I'm going to poke your teeth with this. Again it shouldn't hurt, but it lets me see if your teeth are growing properly."
Harry nodded and opened his mouth again. The first time Steven prodded a tooth was a little painful but not overly so. The second was more painful and by the third he could hardly keep the tears from leaving his eyes. Before Steven had chance to test the fourth tooth, Harry had knocked his hand away and leapt off the chair, tears streaming down his face.
Steven was impressed with the kid's pain tolerance. He had expected to be stopped after the first one and had in fact pressed slightly harder as he continued in an effort to get Harry to stop him. But he had not expected a reaction like this.
Harry was sitting in the corner rocking himself for comfort as tears continued to streak down his face. He made no response to Steven calling his name and Steven knew that the only person who maybe could calm him was Lucy. He had finished for now anyway. There was no chance that Harry would open his mouth again for him today. Besides his lunch break was nearly over and he had other patients in this afternoon.
Fortunately Lucy had finished her phone calls and was on her way up as Steven called down to request her.
"Oh Harry!" Lucy exclaimed as she walked in. She gave a stern glare to Steven before picking up Harry and cradling him. She was shocked at how light he was. "Steven, I'm taking the afternoon off" she stated.
"Look after him well Lucy. He'll need some pain relief, his tolerance is high."
Lucy carried him out of the surgery and to her car, where she strapped him into the front seat. She drove him back to her house and then just before dark drove him back to Little Whinging. A few streets away from Privet Drive, Harry asked her to stop.
"I know my way back from here. Thankyou for putting up with me this afternoon and driving me back here."
"Nonsense Harry. I'll drive you to your door and see you safely inside." Lucy smiled.
"No really. I'll be fine if you just let me walk from here, it's only two streets."
"I'm sorry Harry, I can't do that. Maybe if you explain why you want to walk, I could try to help you?"
Harry remained stubbornly silent until Lucy started up the car.
"I don't want Uncle Vernon to see you. He always makes my friends hate me."
Lucy turned the engine off again.
"Oh Harry. I'm sure he doesn't. People change, they move on." It felt strange to be explaining these facts of life to a six year old, Lucy thought.
Harry shook his head vigorously. "He tells me. He says no-one could like a freak like me so all my friends are just pretending. It's true as well. As soon as they find out what a freak I am, they stop being friends."
"Does your uncle call you freak a lot?"
"Mmm. Or boy. I thought boy was my name until I started school."
Harry was staring out the window as he spoke. Lucy gently cupped Harry's chin and turned it towards her.
"Harry, does your uncle ever hit you?" If he did, they were going straight to the police to report child abuse.
Harry tried to turn his head away but Lucy wouldn't let him. "Not much." Harry said eventually. "And definitely not in term time when people might see."
"What type of thing does he hit you for?" The answer to this decided whether she gave him a piece of her mind or whether she left that to the police.
"Doing freakish things, or breaking the... the... the family harmony." Harry smiled as he remembered the long words, even if he didn't know what they meant.
"I see. And what other punishments do you get?"
"It's mainly just being locked in my cupboard or not getting meals. Although my chores list is longer than it was last year. Probably cos I can read now, they can give me more."
"Well I can assure you that whatever your uncle says, I will not hate you. You are a lovely little boy. Let's get you home, you must be tired."
When they reached the front door, Lucy rang the bell forcefully.
"Good evening" Petunia greeted Lucy. "What can I do for you?"
"You left Harry in the surgery earlier today, so I've brought him home. I do just need to clear up a few things about his diet though as his exam showed up some alarming things." Lucy was all businesslike on the outside but inside she was seething.
"It's not our fault he doesn't want to eat is it? We have our son to look after. I can't possibly keep an eye on two of them at once."
"Who's at the door Pet?" Vernon called out from the kitchen.
"Someone bringing the boy back" Petunia called back.
Grunts and squeaks were heard, then a massive purple neck on what could only be described as a suited whale was seen emerging into the hall.
"You've returned the boy, now you can be off. Don't wait for thanks" Vernon grunted.
"Actually Mr Dursley, Dr Fletcher left me with several questions to ask about Harry's diet and home life. He was a little concerned about Harry's exam. May we come in?"
"You will be hearing about this later boy. Go to your cupboard."
Harry gave a fearful look towards his uncle, which was not lost on Lucy, before he ran away.
"Now I can see you've had a handful today and I am sorry that you've had to deal with him. He isn't normal, if you know what I mean, so we have to use heavy discipline."
"I see. Is that why you refer to him as a freak?"
"If the boy has told you that he's lying. It's one of the things we are trying to break him out of. He invents stories and we have been told that he is always disrupting the lessons at school."
"That must be a tough situation to deal with, when you have a son as well." Lucy had got the measure of this man now: a bully to the core, blaming everyone else for his actions. Now to see how much he would admit.
"It is. It's not the right kind of environment for Dudley to grow up in. He's constantly afraid of what the boy might do. We never wanted a second child and certainly not one that upsets our Dudley so much."
"So why did you take him when his parents died then?"
"He was dumped on our doorstep one night. The neighbours would have known if we had done anything else" Petunia replied. "We are not dumping grounds for unwanted children."
As if a lightbulb had just turned on in his brain, Vernon walked to the cupboard under the stairs and wrenched it open violently. The bang as the door hit the stairs made bits of dust fly from the ceiling.
"Vernon, what are you doing?" Petunia asked.
"Something I should have done years ago." He disappeared briefly and then returned, dragging Harry by the hair. "Get out" he snarled.
"Mr Dursley, you can't just throw him out. He's a six year old child!" Lucy exclaimed.
"Who is ruining my family. Go on. Get. Out." Vernon planted a solid kick to Harry's backside which made him fall over the door frame and scrape his knees. Another shove and Harry was curled up on the doorstep. "I have nothing more to say to you. If you care for him that much, you take him but don't say I didn't warn you!"
The door slammed shut in their faces, or in Harry's case on his fingers. He let out a squeal of pain and tears flowed down his face.
"Come on Harry. Let's get you seen to." Lucy managed to get Harry into her car and drive to the hospital.
In A&E, once Harry was settled, Lucy went to hear what injuries the small boy had got.
"What is your relationship to Harry?" a doctor asked.
"I'm just a friend, but I would consider myself the closest thing to a parent that Harry has."
"But you are not his parent or guardian?"
"I'm afraid I can only discuss his injuries and care with his legal guardians. I suggest you contact them."
"He has just been kicked out of their home! Literally! And then they slammed the door onto his fingers. What makes you think that they would come in here to discuss his care?!"
"Unfortunately, without the legal guardians or a police case I cannot do anything. Patient confidentiality. I am sorry."
"You're not going to do anything? You're going to leave him like that?" Lucy was outraged.
"Because he is a minor, except for pain medication, unless there is an immediate threat to his life we are not allowed to carry out any procedures without parental consent."
"And if the guardian is unfit to give consent?"
"We must wait for the police or courts to notify us."
"So a little boy is going to suffer because of bureaucracy?!"
There was no response.
"Right. I see. Let me phone my lawyer friends and we'll see what they have to say."
"If you can find a loophole, I would be more than happy to see it."
Lucy stormed off outside to ring her lawyer friend Nigel. Half an hour later, they were still trying to find any way in which they wouldn't have to wait until morning for the police station to open.
"Aha! Got it! Ring Jo and get her to meet us at my place asap. It's tricky to describe over the phone."
Twenty minutes later the three were gathered in Nigel's living room.
"I've unearthed this piece of legislation on temporary guardianship for child adoption cases. The current guardian has to sign and the incoming guardian has to sign in the presence of a child welfare officer to ensure that the new location is not harmful."
"It holds in law?"
"For a short time, yes. It allows children to try their new home before they are fully adopted."
"Excellent, let's go now!" Lucy was happy that she could get Harry the treatment he needed.
Two hours later, the trio returned to the hospital and headed straight to Harry's ward.
"Will this do you?" Lucy asked the doctor, holding out the form.
"Unusual angle, but yes this does make you the legal guardian of Harry James Potter."
Lucy smiled in relief and turned to her friends. "Thankyou so much for your help tonight guys, I owe you a big one!"
"No worries Lucy. I hope he gets better soon. Let me know about him, yeah?" Jo asked.
"Of course I will, you too Nigel."
"Thanks Lucy. Get better soon Harry."
It was abundantly obvious that Lucy cared a lot for Harry and his relatives did not. Nigel decided he would find a way to make the guardianship permanent. With limited stress to Harry if he could manage it. He doubted that bit however.
Lucy headed up to Harry's bed so she could see him whilst she talked to the doctor. Somehow she would fight for him. She had not wanted children up to now, having been immersed in her own life, but she realised that being able to care for Harry brought wonderful feelings. She didn't think it would all be plain sailing, but she would do it for Harry.
Jo knew that there would be a big custody battle shortly occurring. Not between the Dursleys and Lucy, rather the government wanting to put Harry with the Dursleys and Lucy wanting him. It was times like these where Jo wished guardianship swap papers existed. It would make life so much simpler.
And Harry? Harry slept peacefully through it all, completely unaware of the plotting surrounding him.